September 16, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Southern Illinoisans will once again be treated to a celebration of outdoor activities and events later this month when National Hunting and Fishing Days return to the John A. Logan College campus.

The 26th annual event is set for Sept. 27th and 28th with activities beginning at about 9 a.m. and running til 4 or 5 p.m. each day.

Approximately 40,000 area residents are expected to attend the extravaganza.

“It is again our pleasure at John A. Logan College to host this event,” said Dr. Steve O’Keefe, Director of College Relations. “Those attending will get to experience our campus and all it has to offer over the course of the two days.

“With a record number of vendors scheduled offering a wide variety of products and services, and with several popular returning events and some new attractions, there is something for everyone,” O’Keefe said. “You don’t have to hunt or fish to enjoy this event. It is fun for the whole family.”

Longtime event organizer, Dwight Hoffard, concurred.

“We fully expect to have another record-setting crowd at National Hunting and Fishing Days,” he said. “The 3D course has gotten more popular every year, especially with this event falling the weekend before archery season begins in Illinois. A lot of people use this as the last tune up before the season begins.”

The O’Neil Auditorium stage will again be the site of one of the nation’s busiest calling weekends.

Events include: the Don Gasaway Youth Goose Calling Contest; the Illinois State Duck “Meat” Calling Contest; and the Tru-Tone Youth Duck Calling Championship all on Saturday.

The Tim Grounds World Open Goose Calling Championship, as well as the Troy Dishner Novice Goose Calling Contest will be held on Sunday.

Introducing children to the outdoors has long been a focus of Hunting and Fishing Days, Hoffard said, and this year’s event promises activities for children of all ages.

 McDonalds will again be the sponsor of “Kids World,” which will include fishing, BB gun shooting and archery.

Black Diamond Harley Davidson in Marion will sponsor the outdoor art and heritage show located in the Brewer Gymnasium. Lakeside Veterinary Clinic will have staff on hand to offer veterinary services, including examinations and vaccinations.  

On Saturday afternoon ( 2 p.m.), high school anglers from throughout southern Illinois will show off their trophy bass as John A. Logan College will again be the site of the Crab Orchard Refuge High School Bass Classic weigh-in.

“This has been a great addition to the event.  The kids get to weigh in in front of hundreds of people just like the pros do,” Hoffard said.

Visitors will have plenty of opportunities to stock-up on the latest gear with a record number of vendors on hand.  The latest game calls and hunting and fishing equipment will all be available.  Visitors should also bring their appetite for traditional “fair food” such as Joni’s famous cinnamon rolls and BBQ.

Events and attractions at this year’s National Hunting and Fishing Days celebration include: jumping dogs; deer display; fishing seminars; coon dog bench trials; archery, fishing and bow fishing, and BB range shooting for kids; Camo the Clown; Buckskinners’ Village; artists and carvers; taxidermists; high school fishing tournament; big catfish contest; 5,000 gallon bass tub; Jeff and Bear; duck and goose calling contests; youth and novice calling contests; food vendors; waterfowl tent; deer tent; archery tent; snake show; dog demonstrations; and an art and heritage show.

Absher-Arnold Motors in Marion is the title sponsor of this year’s event.

Steve O’Keefe contributed to this article.